NFL.com just updated their top 101 free agent list and wouldn’t you know the top two guys are Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.
He began his rookie contract as an incomparable bargain, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and sending Tony Romo to the broadcast booth. He ended his rookie deal as an incomparable bargain, spending the 2019 season’s first three months on the periphery of the MVP race while leading one of the league’s most productive offenses. The free ride is over. The chickens have come home to roost. The bill has come due. It’s time to pay the piper. The bag man cometh.
One of the league’s premier route runners and boundary specialists, Cooper’s presence in Dallas is one of the primary reasons for Prescott’s place atop this list. Dak has played the best ball of his career since the former No. 4 overall pick arrived to fill the No. 1 receiver void left by Dez Bryant’s decline and departure.
The Cowboys have seven total players on the list, including:
6. Byron Jones
33. Robert Quinn
52. Maliek Collins
82. Randall Cobb
83. Michael Bennett
What does the top 15 quarterbacks look like heading into free agency and where is that fella Dak Prescott ranked?
9. Dak Prescott, Free Agent
It’s Dak Prescott’s turn to get paid and what a windfall it will be for the talented 26-year-old, who is aiming to become the highest-salaried player in the sport’s history. Even if Prescott earns that distinction it would only be temporary with Patrick Mahomes a near lock to better that mark when the Chiefs inevitably extend him. Regardless, the fourth-round Mississippi State product has been everything the Cowboys could have hoped for and more, seamlessly replacing mainstay Tony Romo.
The former Rookie of the Year is probably headed for the franchise tag, which would net him a shade under $27 million next season. That’s well below Prescott’s exorbitant asking price (he reportedly balked at a $33-million-a-year overture from the Cowboys last summer), but still a substantial improvement on the $2.025 million he pocketed in 2019. A negotiating tug-of-war is likely to play out between the two sides, but if their current impasse continues, Jerry Jones will surely be the first to cave. Besides, Dak holds all the cards after setting career-highs in both touchdowns (30) and passing yards (4,902) last season, the latter of those figures falling just shy of Romo’s franchise record established in 2014.
NFL free agency 2020: 13 matches between free agents and teams that make perfect sense - Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com
CBS plays the match game as they try to predict where some of this year’s top free agents will end up. Who do they have going to Dallas?
Cowboys — Breshad Perriman
He finally found his hands in Tampa. The speed was never a problem. The route running has improved. This burner would make for a more economical replacement of sorts for Cooper. Not that there is any excuse for Jerry Jones to lose Cooper, especially in a hypothetical bidding war with Arizona, but for the sake of this exercise I’ll put him here.
Without question Witten is a Cowboys icon; however when it comes to his reps, the general consensus is - less is more.
Witten still possesses a useful skillset that’s hard to replicate. His acceleration and quickness is basically gone, yet Witten is regularly able get open and create space. He’s also an enormous and reliable target for Prescott that smaller linebackers and corners sometimes struggle to contain. At this stage of his career, Witten is a natural red-zone weapon and could prove invaluable as the field get smaller. But his days of being a pillar of the offense are likely over, as his presence holds the offense back rather than pushes it forward.
The Cowboys are no strangers to making some obscure, under-the-radar signings, and this depth tight end could be right up their alley.
In Logan Thomas you get experience plus the potential for further growth, given he’s only been playing the TE position for a few years. He also has special teams ability. One especially interesting factor with Thomas is his quarterback experience. He has the ability to be your emergency third QB, which is valuable for the Cowboys as it frees up a roster spot. Dallas went with just two quarterbacks on the 2019 roster in Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. And while Randall Cobb will likely be back to also serve in an emergency QB role, it never hurts to have another option.
Granted, what matters most here is if a guy can really play the TE position and be a solid special teams contributor. But if Logan Thomas’ rising production and playing time since 2016 are any indication, he may be an under-the-radar free agent who could provide real value to the Cowboys next season.
The folks over at PFF try to guess where the top college wide receivers go in the draft, with the Cowboys getting in on the action.
K.J. HILL, OHIO STATE – DALLAS COWBOYS (ROUND 2, PICK 51)
With having to pay an arm and a leg in free agency for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, it seems unlikely that the Cowboys’ 2019 slot receiver Randall Cobb will be brought back in free agency. K.J. Hill has been a reliable slot receiver for the Buckeyes throughout his career, dropping only nine of his 266 targets and generating an explosive play on well over a quarter of his catches from the slot. He’s not going to kill you with speed, but he can on underneath routes where he has averaged 8.6 yards after catch per reception and broken nine tackles on 46 such catches since 2018.
The Cowboys score themselves a nice young defensive talent in SI’s most recent mock draft.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina Perhaps Kinlaw will be off the board by this point, as he has been in all previous iterations of my mock draft. If he is still available here, however, it’s possible that he’s the best player available on the Cowboys’ draft board. Kinlaw has a rare blend of size, length, strength and quickness. Despite consistently facing double teams, Kinlaw generated 10 sacks over the past two seasons.